Students sabotage exams in protest over education reform

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Several hundreds students alongside other opponents of the government’s education reform blocked access to Nanterre University in the outskirts of Paris, where a final examination session was set to take place on Friday.

Blockades around being formed around universities across France as students protest against the government’s education reform, which envisions, in particular, tightening the criteria for university admission.

Earlier in the day, students gathered in front of the examination center in Arcueil, Val-de-Marne, trying to prevent Nanterre students from taking their final exams, the Franceinfo media outlet reported.

The first exam for second-year students was supposed to start at 9:00 a.m. local time (07:00 GMT).

Police had to use pepper spray on the protesting students, who chanted “No to the exams in police presence!” as armored vehicles tried pushing them from the premises.

The director of the university said all the exams scheduled for Friday and Saturday would be canceled because of the situation.

Eric Coquerel, a member of the France Insoumise party who arrived at the scene, tweeted that it was “unacceptable” to pepper spray the students who were protesting peacefully.

The reform of university access, adopted on March 8, modified the conditions under which students get accepted into higher education schools.

These changes will go into effect on September 2018. Trade unions have criticized the reform, pointing to the element of “selection” it creates, something which contradicts the general right and equality in access to higher education for everyone.

Multiple protests have been rocking France since mid-2017, with students, employees and the labour unions from the education, agriculture, prison security, retirement home, railway, aviation and non-profit sectors protesting against the unpopular measures introduced or being considered by the government.



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